Vin Denson - Chapeau!

Famed for his role as trusted domestique to a stellar cast of champions including Jacques Anquetil, Rik van Looy and Tom Simpson, Vin Denson embodies the spirit of Chapeau! He took on the turbulent world of cycling with good humour, panache and an unwavering sense of camaraderie. Whilst spending most of his career riding in the service of other people, Vin had the strength and talent to win in his own right — the first Briton to win a stage of the Giro d’Italia and a palmares including overall victory in the Tour of Luxembourg.

Chapeau! are honoured launch exclusive range of products that capture iconic moments in Vin’s career. We highly recommend his autobiography, The Full Cycle. It’s a classic insight into the tough life of a professional cyclist.

A tribute to the man, the cyclist and the spirit in which he competed and lives.



Bordeaux - Paris 1965

“Bordeaux - Paris was such a crazy race. We rode 557km in about fourteen hours, paced by small motorbikes called dernys. It doesn’t run anymore, which is a shame, but I’d love to see it come back. If you look at the picture, the derby riders have their legs akimbo, to give a better draft to the rider behind them. You only see dernys on the track these days, but pros still train behind motorbikes. I finished 6th, which earned me a lucrative ride in a criterium the next day.

In fact I did very well out of that race because I bagged all of the big primes, first rider to pick up his derny, fastest lap of the finishing track, plus my team mates Jean Stablinski and Jacques Anquetil gave me their prize money! Of course Jacques won the race, even though he had won the Dauphine stage race only a few hours earlier. That was a real coup for our team sponsor, Ford - France, so they gave me a bonus as well!”


Tour de France 1965

“Now this is a cheeky one! Today there is a lot more support from team cars and the like but back then we often had to fend for ourselves.

I’d been sent on a cafe raid to get a drink for Jacques Anquetil, who was my team leader. On a cafe raid the domestics would be allowed to go up the road, then we’d find a cafe, drop our bikes outside and pile in to grab whatever we could get our hands on. We didn’t have time to be fussy, there was no worrying about getting the right type of fancy sports drink. On this occasion I’d got a load of beer and wine and if you look closely.

I’m actually passing a bottle to Tom Simpson, who was on a rival team. There weren’t many Brits in the peloton so we had to stick together!”


Vaux Grand Prix 1968

“This is me leading the break in the Vaux Grand Prix. It was a hard race around the hills near Durham and I got away early with John Clarey, that’s him behind me in the picture.

John eventually faded, but I kept going all the way to the line. The selectors were watching and thanks to that win I was chosen to ride as part of the national Great Britain team in that year’s Tour de France.”

The Vaux Grand Prix turned out to be the last big win of my career. Even though I was riding for the Italian Kelvinator team, it was nice to be racing and winning back home.”